Political And Other Miscellany From A Stout Democrat In Dallas Texas.
"Politics is the only game for adults." --from Robert A. Heinlein's Double Star

Monday, June 12, 2006



The Texas Democratic Party held our 2006 State Convention Friday and Saturday in Fort Worth. Except for a contest for State Chair, a four-way race which had to go to a second ballot runoff, there was not much controversy. Most of the sessions on the floor were spent listening to speeches from candidates, elected officials, and other guests, while committees were meeting elsewhere. Below are a few highlights available on the internet.

For a list of links to local newspaper coverage, see this post, at Annatopia, who heatedly objects to their spin on our party, and another list, followed by still one more, with coverage from elsewhere compiled by South Texas Chisme.

Most of the first day was spent in caucusses of various organizations. One very hopeful sign emerging from those was a new unity among Hispanic Democrats; for more read DosCentavos in this post, and this follow-up. That afternoon, each Senate district met to pick members to serve on the convention committees, and to elect two persons to serve on the State Executive Committee for the next two years.

The keynote was given Friday evening by General Wesley Clark, who was introduced by State Representative Richard Raymond. There are videos on line at YouTube or at CanOFun. There was a speech by retiring State Senator Gonzalo Barrientos, on line at YouTube. After an address by Rebecca Vigil-Giron, New Mexico's Secretary of State, the delegates had to decide between two candidates for permanent convention chair. A roll call vote was won by former State Chair Bob Slagle. The big finale Friday was the talk by our candidate for Governor Chris Bell; video is at YouTube and his text is on line at Burnt Orange Report.


The final day's session began with a filmed tribute to our late U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen (on line at YouTube). This was followed by a very moving speech by our U.S. Senate candidate Barbara Ann Radnofsky (who said she was running for Bentsen's seat, which was temporarily held by someone else). Her remarks are online at Burnt Orange Report, and on video at YouTube and at CanOFun. Later there were talks by Lieutenant Governor candidate Maria Luisa Alvarado (on line at YouTube), and an exciting old-fashioned piece of fire-breathing oratory by Attorney General candidate David Van Os (introduced by former Attorney General Jim Mattox), which is on line at YouTube and at CanOFun.

Some other convention videos can be found (and are still being posted) at YouTube or at CanOFun. It is not clear how long these will stay up; one of Bell's speech has already been removed once and later replaced. Vince Leibowitz has also put on line audio tapes of Clark and Barrientos, and of Radnofsky speaking to the Blogger's Caucus, and of interviews with several candidates, which can be found at Capitol Annex.

Shown above is State Representative Senfronia Thompson, who spoke to the convention on Saturday as Democratic candidate for Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, calling on the people to "tear down the wall" dividing them from their Republican-misrun government.

In the race for State Chair, incumbent Boyd Richie almost won on the first ballot. Before the runoff, third-place finisher Charlie Urbina-Jones urged his supporters to do what they thought was right, and they split between the two leaders. Richie won the office, and challenger Glen Maxey pledged his support and called for unity in a concession speech. Discussion of the vote, with maps by districts and an Excel spread sheet, were put up by Kirk McPike of Dallas at Burnt Orange Report.

The Nominations Committee, chaired by Ken Molberg of Dallas, recommended Roy Laverne Brooks for Vice Chair; one challenger then withdrew in her favor. The committee's other choices were then all elected by voice vote. Several uncontroversial changes were made to the Rules, as proposed by the Committee headed by Theresa Daniel of Dallas. These included adding members from the Environmental Caucus and the Asian American Democrats to the state executive committee.

The long balloting for State Chair left little time for Resolutions or Platform, and several items passed by those committees were referred for further consideration later. One which did pass called for gradually getting our troops out of Iraq. An issue brought up from the floor by a petition was a resolution calling for impeaching George Bush for a long list of offenses, and removing him from office if convicted; that failed on a close division vote. If the items passed are posted on the web, we'll post that here. The convention finally adjourned for lack of a quorum at about 9 PM.

The Party Welcomes Bloggers:

Here I am sitting at one of the rows of tables the party provided for bloggers at this convention, close to the stage and with wireless internet access. They gave us press credentials and interview opportunities. Many of us were there with laptops, "live blogging" on web sites in real time about the caucusses and sessions, so people at home could keep in touch with Democracy at work. The party never tried to impose any official line or censor us, and the result was a rainbow diversity of opinion. This openness is a big difference between us and the secrecy-obsessed Republicans.

While the traditional news media (who were actually seated behind us) were there only as observers, many of us were also delegates, and served as committee members or in other roles, rushing to our own delegations when roll call votes were taken. We also reacted differently to events: the reporters sat and watched, while we frequently stood, cheered, and applauded with the rest of the convention. It's a whole new world, as ordinary people reclaim access to information from the corporate conglomerates.

The unofficial home of the convention webloggers was at the Blogger's Caucus site, but its list was not complete. Here are some of those who covered events as or soon after they unfolded (you can scroll down to get to their first posts on the convention to read them in order as posted): A Capitol Blog (by State Representative Aaron Pena -- one of the few officeholders who really does blog), annatopia (from Tarrant County), Brains and Eggs (from Houston), Burnt Orange Report (a group blog started by students at U.T. Austin), Capitol Annex (by Vince Leibowitz, a fellow east Texan), Common Sense (from central Texas), Dos Centavos (from "Houston, Tejas"), Eye on Williamson (from Round Rock), Greg's Opinion (from Houston), Just Another Blog (from San Antonio), jobsanger (from Euless), The Kendallian Voice (from the hill country), Marc's Miscellany (from Fort Worth), McBlogger (from Austin), musings (from Sugar Land), North Texas Liberal, Off the Kuff (from Houston), PAA (from Houston), Victoria Kos (from south Texas), and finally my own site, StoutDemBlog.

(By the way, thanks for the picture of me to fellow blogger Charlie of PAA, who had previously blogged the 2004 Democratic National Convention as a Kucinich supporter.)


  • At 1:11 AM, Blogger Charlie said…

    Glad you liked the picture! It was a pleasure to meet you, and I really enjoyed your writeup of our collective blogging experience.

    I, too, was very glad that Amber and Hector (both of the TDP) as well as Vince & Annatopia put the caucus together and had the foresight to allow us to get press passes and have the front two rows.

    Hopefully next time we'll have POWER (plugs) at the tables (we all had to run out to charge batteries at some point!)


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